The Hawks made a number of arrests on Wednesday in relation to the infamous Free State asbestos deal.
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) or Hawks arrested two people on Wednesday in connection with the controversial and unlawful R255-miillion 2014 Free State asbestos audit contract.
The contract has been found to have yielded “no value for money”.
A spokesperson for the Hawks in the Free State confirmed the arrests but would not confirm the identity of the people involved.
ID head Adv Hermione Cronje promised the first big state capture arrest would come in September. Today is the last day of September. So there it is… several arrests by the Hawks underway this morning.
— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) September 30, 2020
The Hawks have been at a business premises since 10am searching for the suspect. He’s alleged to have siphoned money in the Asbestos eradication tender. He previously denied this at the #StateCapture commission. His colleagues say they have no idea of his whereabouts @Newzroom405 pic.twitter.com/M2XVVJwfkc
— Karinda Jagmohan (@Karinda_J) September 30, 2020
Five of seven arrests made as Hawks haul alleged masterminds in R255m Free State asbestos audit scandal
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed to NewsyBag that five out of seven suspects were in custody.
He urged the remaining two suspects to cooperate and not attempt to flee, as this would make matters worse for them.
It is believed one suspect in KZN and another in Gauteng are yet to be apprehended. Mulaudzi said the operation was launched simultaneously in three provinces, Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.
Four of the seven suspects are current or former government officials, while three are private businessmen. In addition to the seven suspects, five companies are expected to be charged.
Search and seizure operarions are underway at two locations in Gauteng and the Free State, Mulaudzi said.
Hawks eye seven arrests in total as R255m Free State asbestos audit scandal caves
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi told ENCA earlier on Wednesday that the operation was taking place in three provinces – Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal and hoped to net seven suspects in all.
There has been little official communication from the Hawks beyond short statements made to television news reporters.
It is understood that one of the suspects, who has not been officially identified, was taken into custody by Hawks officials at his attorney’s offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
The Hawks are also carrying out search and seizure operations at various business premises in Gauteng, however no further details are available at this stage.
A full statement from the Hawks has been promised, but is yet to be released.
One of the suspects in the R255m asbestos case arrested. (Photo: Supplied, NPA)
State capture: Hawks arrest alleged masterminds in R255m Free State asbestos audit scandal
The arrests were made by the Hawks as part of a multi-disciplinary law enforcement team. An official announcement by the team is expected later this afternoon.
More arrests are expected, according to a Hawks spokesperson.
A Free State official has told the Zondo commission that he doesn’t see a conflict in interest in sub-contracting for a company which got a housing contract from his department. | @gerbjan https://t.co/lohn3Lm9bV
— NewsyBag (@NewsyBag) September 29, 2020
How recruiting Zondo commission investigators will speed up NPA’s prosecutions
The NPA’s Investigating Directorate will recruit investigators from the Zondo Commission by the end of the month to “effect quick results in priority cases”.